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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Thessalonians 1, 1-10

Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonica which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace.

We always thank God for you all, mentioning you in our prayers continually.

We remember before our God and Father how active is the faith, how unsparing the love, how persevering the hope which you have from our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, brothers loved by God, that you have been chosen,

because our gospel came to you not only in words, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with great effect. And you observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your sake.

You took us and the Lord as your model, welcoming the word with the joy of the Holy Spirit in spite of great hardship.

And so you became an example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia

since it was from you that the word of the Lord rang out -- and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for your faith in God has spread everywhere. We do not need to tell other people about it:

other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with the worship of false gods when you were converted to God and became servants of the living and true God;

and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven. It is he who saves us from the Retribution which is coming.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is a letter Paul, Silvanus and Timothy wrote together, as if they wanted wanting to recall what the Lord had done with the Apostles (Mark 6:7) and the disciples (Luke 10:1) when he sent them out in pairs. Paul, moreover, was not an isolated protagonist. The Church is, first of all, a communion. All three together address themselves to the small community of Thessalonica, a community great not because of numbers, but because of the dignity of having been founded on "God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." This dignity made that small community a blessing for Thessalonica. It was the "ekklesia," that is, the "assembly," of the community called together by God in that city. Every Christian community is a holy "assembly of God." Paul has them before his eyes while the community gathers around the banquet of agape: he sees each Christian, one by one, and yet he views it above all as a community gathered by the Lord. Paul thanks the Lord for that small community which lives with a firm faith, with a love that toils and with a constant hope. To this community, Christ could also apply his praise in the Book of revelation: "I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance" (Rev 2:2). The apostle addresses believers who are "beloved by God" and therefore elected by Him. "Election" (Rom 11:28), which at one time was Israel’s privilege, is now extended also to those believers in Thessalonica through Paul’s preaching, which he has accomplished "in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." Also for them, he could say: "My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power," (1 Cor 2:4). The Lord himself, through the preaching of his disciples, changes the hearts of those who hear, and gives birth to a new life in them. The apostle knows that the service of preaching demands his personal engagement, because only then does the Lord become near and recognizable to those who hear him. This is why the Thessalonians have been able to imitate him, thus drawing near to Christ himself. The life of those in charge of the community should reflect the Gospel they proclaim; that is how their preaching will be effective. The Thessalonians were able to receive it with joy, even amidst persecutions. And they became an example for other believers who were in Macedonia and Achaia. The life of the Gospel spreads because it attracts, because it displays a better life than that offered by the world. It is the first Christian community founded on European soil, and it immediately gave rise to enthusiasm everywhere in the young communities of that area. The spread of the Gospel is not tied to pastoral techniques or sophisticated organizational means. The Gospel spreads only by the attractive power of a truly evangelical life. Paul rejoices in their faith and recounts everyone’s amazement upon learning of their response, which was conversion, leaving aside the idols of this world in order to serve the Lord alone.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord